How to Give your audience what they're asking for and keep them coming back for more.
My son required a bit of physical therapy in his early months and, through that process, I stumbled on the CanDo Kiddo site, a blog run by a pediatric occupational therapist (OT) named Rachel. I originally came to the site in search of therapy ideas for my little dude, but I keep returning to the site because it’s an outstanding example of how to generate a lot of blog traffic around a simple idea: solve problems for your audience.
Let me walk you through how you can solve problems for your audiences, and generate traffic by doing so, using CanDo Kiddo as the example.
What are the top 3 issues your client-base or audience faces?
For most businesses and bloggers, the way you can figure this out is by identifying the three questions (or types of questions) you’re asked most often. Based on CanDo Kiddo’s site, I assume patients or audience members repeatedly asked her:
- What are some ideas for playing with my baby? What are the best toys to encourage development and movement?
- Which baby milestones should I be looking for? How can I encourage my baby to hit physical milestones? What do I do if my baby doesn’t roll/crawl/walk “on time”?
- What baby gear do you recommend? Which stroller should I use? Is a rock n’ play bad for my baby’s development?
These are questions Rachel probably heard over and over in various forms. What are you hearing? What are the top themes/categories of questions you receive?
Take these top questions and create a series.
You have your issues or questions. Now you need to answer these questions for your audience. Although there are some topics that may just require one, long-form post, more often than not you’re going to need to create a series of posts for each issue. In order for each post to be helpful, you want to target it as tightly as possible.
Looking at the first issue from CanDo Kiddo—play—we see that she didn’t create one general post on “how to play with your baby.” Rather, she broke these posts down first by age range (0-4 months, 5-8 months, 9-12 months, and 12 months+) and she looks at some very specific issues within play, such as tummy time play. CanDo Kiddo includes over 60 blog posts in the Baby Play Activities category alone.
You don’t need to write 60 blog posts (although that’s awesome!) to have an effective series. Take that top issue or questions and think of 3-5 unique ways to approach the topic. You may want to do a different post for every tool or resource your audience could apply as a solution. Or, like Rachel, you might want to create a series based on age. Or, you can dissect various research on the topic—a different research perspective or theory for each post.
Before you begin your series on this issue/topic, try a bit of free writing. Write down categories, top words, resources, news, etc. that pops in your mind. Don’t overthink or plan as you write, just keep journaling. Once you’ve gone on for 10 minutes or so take a break, and when you come back look for different lenses you can use to view the issue through.
Write each post.
Craft a headline that makes the topic both clear and has a “hook.” You first want your audience to understand what they’re getting when they click a link so use the primary words or phrases in your headline. You also want your audience to want to read more. Lists are one good way to achieve clicks: “Top 5 ways to ….” and the “10 Things You Didn’t Know About ....” In my personal opinion, there is a time and place for lists, but they’re also played out a bit and often don’t fit with your brand. Figure out how you can clearly identify a topic, make your audience want to read more, and do both within brand. This is not an easy task at all, but when you do find your groove you’re in a golden place.
At CanDo Kiddo, Rachel uses a bit of a tongue in cheek approach: “How not to break your baby: tummy time tips for newborns” and “Bad stroller habits even great parents have.” I know exactly what she’s going to talk about in each article, and I want to read more, and I am starting to get a sense for her personality.
Write short, concise posts. Avoid flowery language and complex words or phrases. When you must use a professional term, define it for a layperson. CanDo Kiddo keeps all of the language accessible. I recommend using the Hemingway App to check your post. It does a fantastic job of helping writers cut the extra.
Include imagery with every post and keep your visual style consistent. All CanDo Kiddo recent posts have a visual headline—hers are squares with on-brand frames. Although you will see other images on the site, these visual headlines are the primary image for post categories within the website and for social media shares. Some blogs always use images with the exact same visual style, others use an icon to represent each post, and still others will take a more typographic approach. Whatever you choose, stick with it!
Structure your web content so it’s clear that you're an authority on this issue.
Once you identify your audience's’ top questions and write your posts, it’s time to structure your website and social media to reflect your authority on these topics. You can’t—and shouldn’t—be everything to everyone. That’s how businesses fail. Instead you want to let a first time visitor know your core competencies.
On CanDo Kiddo, Rachel has her core areas in large, colored icons on the Start Here page. Play, milestones, and baby gear are the first three of five. She concisely calls out her main topics and how you can navigate her resources.
Another way to demonstrate your authority on this topic is to repeatedly share the posts from this series on social media. You want to share and link to this posts often, every couple of weeks, and not just the day you post. And when you do share these posts, be sure to engage with your audience. Answer all comments/questions as quickly as possible.
Make it clear to your audience that you have multiple, high-quality posts on their top issues.
This is how you establish yourself as an authority figure. Once your audience knows and respects your voice on these topics, they’ll come back for more.
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